After the Rescue: Bonded Labor Survivors Find Justice and Dignity on Road to Restoration

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”– John 10:10

School bags distribution

 As we celebrate Easter, we are pleased to report that those once trapped in slavery are now on the road to a more abundant life.  Earlier today, every child of the survivors from the bonded labor rescue in Madhubani, Bihar (northern India) received school supply kits that were generously provided by an individual donor in India (see photo above).  Since the rescue two months ago, Justice Ventures International (JVI) and its local justice partner have been diligently working with the survivors and government officials to ensure justice and restoration are provided for the survivors.

My child pleaded to go to school, however I had no option but to take him to work. Our walk everyday to the fields with my child broke my heart. However, when a few days ago the government officials came and  announced that our children have been admitted in the village school, I cried tears of joy. Now I watch my son run to school.”
 – A Madubani Bonded Labor Survivor

Additionally, the following restoration efforts have been accomplished to date:

  • February 7, 2015:  Release Certificates issued to survivors by Madhubani District Administration;
  • February 14, 2015:  State compensation checks in the amount of 10,000 Rupees (~$160.00 U.S.) issued to 64 survivors (and checks for remaining survivors under process);
  • February 16, 2015:  Job Cards under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) were issued, and sixty-two survivors were also registered to receive Voter ID cards.  Additionally, two self-help groups by Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotional Society (BRLPS) for female survivors were formed.
  • March 16, 2015:  Compensation checks under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe [SC/ST] welfare scheme in the amount of 22,500 Rupees (`$361.00 U.S) were distributed to ninety-nine survivors.
Govt official declaring Freedom from bonded slavery

JVI and its local justice partner continue to engage with the Bihar government in order to connect the survivors with other benefits such as housing, land and job opportunities.  (see photo above of a local government official speaking with survivors).

“We quickly realized that to speak with the authorities as one voice would benefit us more. Today, we have job cards, voter ID cards, bank accounts and compensation from the state government and also under the SC/ST welfare scheme. We continue to live in the same village and now watch our children going to school every day. Ours is now a life of dignity and freedom from bondage.”  
– A Madhubani Bonded Labor Survivor

Best wishes to you for a blessed Easter from JVI.

 

All content and images are the property of JVI © 2015.

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